The Face of Disaster, Typhoon Ondoy in the Philippines

Central Business District, Makati City - 26 Sept 2009
Central Business District, Makati City - 26 Sept 2009

Nobody Saw It Coming

A thing about heavy rains is that everyone expects it to stop anytime soon. That is how I felt that Saturday morning when the rain started at 10am, Tropical Storm Ondoy (Ketsana) is expected to pass through our archipelago -- pass through being the operative phrase. A day later Im reminded of the funny saying -- when you assume, u make an ass out of u and me . In the Philippines we have a similar saying that goes -- "maraming namamatay sa maling akala " -- "many die from wrong assumptions". Sadly, everyone assumed that this storm was just passing through.

A tropical storm over here is characterized by strong winds and intermittent rain fall, sometimes weak, sometiimes strong but seldom devastating Storms are a nuisance at best here, a damper on the plans made etc. By 11am the rain has gone on unabated and classes in schools were suspended. The downpour did not stop it just got stronger, I already knew that some areas in and around Metro Manila would be flooded by now but then I also felt that it wont be long now and the rain will stop. I had a birthday party to go to that night, I am all set and looking forward to it. By 2pm I started getting worried, Two of my nieces Yssa and Roxy attended the same college and they still haven't returned home after being dismissed at 11am. When I finally got hold of them on the cell, they sounded a bit scared, the flood waters have risen up to their knees. The rain is as strong as ever if not more and it has gone on for four hours now. It will go on for two more. Six hours of the heaviest rainfall this side of the earth has ever seen in 40 years.

My nieces got home soaked to the skin by 7.30pm shaken and scared but just thankful to get home, remember they were dismissed at 11am? They walked a considerable distance to get to the metro rail (the long long way back). when they got there the queue to get to the train stretched for miles, they had to wait three hours to get their ticket and finally board the train another train ride awaits them at the other end and another long walk to get to our house. But, and this is the big but, they got home safe, several others were not so lucky.

What I have put together here are some of the images from this harrowing day. I will let the images do the talking. Some experts claim that the volume of floods this time surpassed that of Katrina. Three days later, we are all trying to get hold of friends and family to check if theyre ok and we are thanking the heavens that we were somehow spared.

One of our favorite writers here in Hubpages, Cris A lives in the hardest-hit part of the metropolis, in Marikina.I haven't been able to reach him till now but I haven't stopped praying for his safety either.

pedestrian underpass, Ayala Ave, Makati
pedestrian underpass, Ayala Ave, Makati
Quezon City
Quezon City
Exelsio Tower, Makati
Exelsio Tower, Makati
Quezon City
Quezon City
Local movie star Kristine Reyes atop her roof waiting for rescue
Local movie star Kristine Reyes atop her roof waiting for rescue
hardest-hit is the River Banks area of Marikina City. The whole city was submerged
hardest-hit is the River Banks area of Marikina City. The whole city was submerged

Prelude to a video of the disaster

This video shows a family trying to hold on as the strong current of the San Mateo river takes their makeshift raft under the bridge. Notice that the raft did not make it in one piece past the river. One of the people in this raft found his way to a local television station to tell his story. He was with his wife and two girls (aged 6 and 3) and some neighbors. He was the only one who got out, his family has yet to be found, Its his younger daughter's birthday today (Sept 28). He was crying, no bawling as he tells his story in the local news.

one of the most heart-rending scenes from the day

flash flood

People in their cars caught unawares, now I finally understand the concept of a flash flood. The video was taken by students in the second level. If you listen closely, they were jesting at the start (nervous laughter i think) and then later on they started shouting and crying. The poor lady from came out from her car window, tried to throw her bag to the people on the roof and got really scared until someone from the roof finally jumped and went to where she was.

Flash flood in a medical school in Manila (UERM)

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Comments 11 comments

Angzter Zero profile image

Angzter Zero 6 years ago from Philippines

The resilience of the Filipino people are tested again. In God we trust! :-)


buddygallagher profile image

buddygallagher 6 years ago from manila, philippines Author

Amen to that!


SHIEN 6 years ago

WOW NICE ONE


quicksand profile image

quicksand 6 years ago

Really sorry to hear about the disaster.


buddygallagher profile image

buddygallagher 6 years ago from manila, philippines Author

thanks quicksand,it was ugly as hell...


Lee Thacker profile image

Lee Thacker 6 years ago

I like the way your brain thinks, makes me feel alive listening to what your thinking, very cool...Keep it up ...PS Now I Know Why I bookmarked your page ;-) ...Hope you are doing well,


daviddwarren22 profile image

daviddwarren22 5 years ago

So terrifying faces of Ondoy!Nice hub.


buddygallagher profile image

buddygallagher 5 years ago from manila, philippines Author

thanks for dropping by daviddwarren, glad you enjoyed reading


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

I stumbled upon this article just now - 2 years after Ondoy. Weird, just remembering that awful typhoon still gives me the creeps :(


Princess Pitt 5 years ago

i cant stand reading this ...nightmares heartbreaks and memories!


buddygallagher profile image

buddygallagher 5 years ago from manila, philippines Author

this disaster is one for the books indeed kerlynb and yes quite creepy

sorry for bringing back bad memories princess pitt, this hub has been around for quite a while...

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